When there's clouds hanging in your sky

And they're not just letting any light in

And you feel like you'd like to give in

Don't you give up so soon

What you need is a friend to count on

What you got, baby you got someone

Who will stay when the rain is falling

And won't let it fall on you

I'll see you through

I'll cover you with a love so deep and warm and true

I will be there, oh

Honey I'll be your shelter

I'll be the one to take you through the night

Whenever you need shelter

I'll make everything all right

Make everything all right, yes

NA NA nana na na

I got arms strong enough to hold you

Get you through anything you go through

Anything that you need

You know it's only a touch away

When your heart needs a heart beside it

Should be mine that it's keeping time with

'Coz I got so much love inside it

It beats for you every day

I'll be the one

To give you love

When it seems like there's just not enough

Mine will be there, oh

Honey I'll be your shelter

I'll be the one to take you through the night

Whenever you need shelter

I'll make everything all right

Make everything all right, yes

NA NA nana na na

I'll see you through

I'll cover you with a love so deep and warm and true

I will be there, oh

Honey I'll be your shelter

I'll be the one to take you through the night

Whenever you need shelter

I'll make everything all right

Make everything all right, yes

NA NA nana na na

Being of a resident of an area near Washington D.C., I've always appreciated the fact that Brandon and Kelly's courtship officially started in that particular city. This fanfiction focuses on the trip Brandon took there and where Kelly met up with him. The writers themselves made a great finale with this plot (Mr Walsh Goes To Washington), but like in Tell It To My Heart, I want to fill in some blanks and hopefully look at it through a new lens. The characters of Clare and Lucinda show up briefly. Additionally, there will be a Dylan/Brenda subplot because I loved their reconnection during that season.

For the sake of the Brenda storyline, not only does Andrea know about Kelly's trip, but also Donna in this first scene. That's the only minor change. Hoping you'll read and review, Nikki

I'll Be Your Shelter is the property of Taylor Dayne.

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer is the property of Nat King Cole.

The hanger of her garment bag catches onto the handle of her suitcase, preventing her from opening the compartment with ease. Kelly groans and disengages the hanger. Her luggage is sure making things difficult, as if the trip wasn't complicated in itself. Calling around for tickets wasn't too bad. It's the earliest part of the summer, not yet Memorial Day. If it were Memorial Day, her departing flight would've been pretty packed. Her destination is known for being patriotic. Kelly smiles and reaches for her red sweater.

"Kel?" yells her female roommate from down the hall.

David, her male roomie, is probably at Mardi Gras prepping for Babyface's performance. She's sort of sorry she's going to be missing it, but her head and her heart were finally working together to get her some place else. They hadn't been on common ground for awhile now. Before today, her head would be with Dylan. She would try to reason with him, understand him, and it almost always ended up with her fighting with him. Perhaps it was because Dylan was unhappy at California University, but he'd been a downer for quite some time. He only perked up when he was with Erica, and Kevin and Suzanne, the recently married pair that she still didn't trust. She just got a phoney vibe from them but of course Dylan defended them and he had to be right. Her heart? A totally different story. It would perk up when a certain person came around. She can't pin down when it started. Maybe it was the conversations they had about how to help Andrea through her situation, or the accidental meetings here and there, or the fact that she'd sat on the deck and recalled their conversation regarding the retreat kiss every day for two months. Brandon didn't know any of this. Was his heart doing the same thing? What if that conversation was it for them? He broke up with Lucinda. What did that mean? Kelly massages her forehead. None of this ran through her mind when she actually purchased the tickets.

"There you are," says Donna, then giving her a puzzled grin. "Did I miss something?"

Donna stands by her, Kelly seeing her best friend's purple jacket and pink shirt out of the corner of her eye.

"Only a treat for myself for making it through finals," announces Kelly, doing a good job of not making eye contact.

Kelly folds her red sweater and packs it.

"Oh, so you were smart and decided to get out of here as soon as possible," remarks Donna, crossing her arms.

Donna having anything but a positive attitude is cause for concern.

"What's wrong?" asks Kelly.

"Ariel," moans Donna.

"Donna, Brenda and I told you that....," starts Kelly.

"I know, I know," interjects Donna. "It's...it's aggravating, though. She's so into David. I, for one, cannot wait until Mardi Gras is done."

"Well, it is almost over," comforts Kelly.

"Let's discuss something that's not annoying, like this sudden trip, perhaps?" says Donna with a wide smile.

With a scan of the clothes in her suitcase, Donna tilts her head back and forth. Kelly shakes her head.

"Clothes aren't really cluing me in," sighs Donna. "Is...is it a city?"

"Yes," says Kelly, going to her closet.

"Paris?" cries Donna. "London? Monaco? Wichita?"

"Wichita?" exclaims Kelly, laughing.

"Toss me a crumb here," says Donna. "If you can't tell your best friend, who can you tell?"

"Hmmm, Andrea might tell, anyway. I didn't tell her to keep it secret," mulls Kelly.

Donna takes Kelly by the arm and they sit on her bed. It's not like it's an evil plan. She and Dylan weren't dating anymore, Brandon is single, and school is over. They'd have a lot of explaining to do, however. Kelly releases a deep breath and faces Donna.

"Spill it to me, sister," says Donna with a firm nod.

"I'm going to see Brandon...in D.C.," confesses Kelly, her cheeks growing warm. "I know that I just broke up with Dylan, and I know I'm taking a chance that might hurt our friendship, but I don't know. I don't want to wander 'what if'. I...I must be crazy."

"Crazy must be contagious then...because I think you should go," says Donna. "Kel, you should totally go."

"There's so much at risk, Don," sighs Kelly. "What's everybody going to think? What's Dylan going to think?"

"Sometimes risks pay off," says Donna. "I mean, I was worried about what you guys would think when I first started dating David. This guy who was a year younger and could be annoying at times...."

"At times?" teases Kelly.

"Shhh," says Donna, slapping her knee lightly. " Then, I just learned not to care. It all worked out for the best."

She can always count on Donna to give the best advice and show the most caring spirit. Kelly hugs her from the side, Donna giggling.

"I want to hear allllll of the details," sing-songs Donna.

"Help me figure out what to wear first," encourages Kelly. "I mean, I've been to New York, but maybe D.C. has its own fashion scene going on."

"It's still the United States, Kelly," waves off Donna. "But you should always..."

"Pack a little black dress," fills in Kelly.

"Felice Martin's number one travel rule permanently stamped in my memory," groans Donna, rolling her eyes.

As Donna starts to rifle through Kelly's closet, Kelly opens her carry-on bag and retrieves the ticket. A round-trip ticket to Washington D.C. Brandon would have no idea that she was coming. She hopes he'll think for himself, that he'll think it's a pleasant surprise. The rest of her worries would have to wait until she returned home, hopefully with him.

"Florals, for the spring," says Donna, pulling out two dresses.

"I think I'm going to love Washington," murmurs Kelly, slipping her ticket into her pocket.


Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Dylan accepts the root beer from the vendor, sighs after taking a sip. The California University Glee Club surrounds him in their long-sleeved white shirts, maroon vests, and black slacks as they sing the familiar summer anthem. Well, not familiar to him. In fact, none of this is familiar and the only reason he was here was because his younger sister Erica desperately needed a good time.

Erica was moving in a couple days, to Orange County with her parents. Kevin would be scoping out the territory for their new business, and despite being excited about the prospect of how far they could take it, Dylan hates that they'll be living somewhere else. Yes, he knew Erica wouldn't stay with him forever. But there was no harm in wishing it was for a longer period of time.

She is handed a large soft pretzel, the salt covering her petite fingers. She's less petite now. There must have been a growth spurt that he missed when she wasn't around. He can't believe how tall she's getting. Soon enough, she'd be a teenager and he'd have to chase away guys that weren't good for her. Nah, he wouldn't be that overprotective...unless the guy seemed like a real jerk.

"Had my first pretzel at Disneyland," shares Erica.

"No!" says Dylan playfully.

"Yes!" insists Erica. "They're so good. Let's see. I've had cotton candy, a hot dog, popcorn..."

"If Suzanne asks who gave you all that, don't say it was me," says Dylan.

"Pinkie swear," promises Erica.

They link pinkies and mentally swear.

"Or you could just blame me," speaks up someone behind them. "Get your brother off the hook."

"Oh," says Dylan with relief. "I thought you were a Glee Club member that I had to strangle."

"No such luck," says Brenda, shrugging.

Dylan takes in Brenda, smiling a bit. Her glossy brown locks were in two small pigtails, her curvy frame in overalls with a white T-shirt underneath. Her eyes were still sharp and bright, like when he met her. She could always pierce him with those eyes. He'd be reminded of their history, almost forget how turbulent their relationship was, but never forget how she was there for him when things got bumpy.

"Are you guys enjoying Mardi Gras?" questions Brenda.

"I am!" says Erica excitedly.

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies
Then lock the house up, now youre set
And on the beach youll see the girls in their bikinis
As cute as ever but they never get em wet

"You might want to ask me at a different time!" yells Dylan over the singing.

The Glee Club trade knowing glances and strut to the side, away from them. He wouldn't have done them any bodily harm. They just needed to sing somewhere else. Man.

"Dylan, we didn't do the bumper cars yesterday," says Erica. "And this is my last day here."

"We didn't," recalls Dylan.

"Brenda, I have enough tickets for you to ride too," offers Erica.

"I was supposed to meet Donna, but I guess she went home for a quick nap," says Brenda, looking at Dylan briefly.

Is she checking to make sure it's okay? She didn't have to check.

"Come on, Bren," says Dylan, stroking Erica's hair. "Give this little speed demon a run for her money."

"If you do it, too," suggests Brenda. "May not be a Porsche or a Rolls, but I would think if any ride would get you involved, it'd be that one."

Bumper cars? He's all for watching others crash into each other, and speed around the metal parameters, but him? He thought he'd kick back with his root beer and let Erica run amok.

"Erica...Erica has to finish her pretzel," points out Dylan.

Without delay, Erica stuffs the rest of the pretzel into her mouth and chews with effort. Brenda grins and high-fives his sister. Dylan produces a low moan.

"You can be less than cool for two minutes," says Brenda.

"Please don't," protests Dylan.

Brenda and Erica take him by the hands, leading him forward. He feels like switching places with Steve and being dumped in the dunking booth. The pool would cool him in this heat, that's for sure. The ticket taker receives three tickets and Erica swiftly runs to a red car parked at the other end. He should've known. It was the shiniest of the cars. He can't blame her. He has a thing for shiny cars too.

That, and dark hair getting caught in the wind. Soft summer breezes shift Brenda's bangs as she gets into a green car. Dylan opts for a blue car next to hers, realizing that the other empty cars are being filled fast by other Mardi Gras visitors.

"So what are you doing this summer?" asks Brenda as Dylan straps himself inside the car.

"Setting up shop with Kevin, most likely," answers Dylan. "He's going first, settling in with Suzanne."

"Is Kelly paying a visit to Orange County?" says Brenda.

Kelly. He was kind of hoping to avoid that name for as long as he could. The break-up was definitely coming. How could it not after all those arguments and awkward silences? The writing was definitely on the wall. It was like she wanted him to be a totally different person. He didn't fit in with her sorority friends or her college friends. Wasn't the West Bev gang their true friends? They were less fake certainly. That's where he fit in, and he wasn't too interested in anybody else. It was a leap of faith to trust Kevin and Suzanne, yeah, but that was mainly for Erica.

"It's been a week since we split, and a week since we've talked," admits Dylan.

"Sorry I asked," says Brenda.

"No, you're not," counters Dylan, grinning. "Admit it."

Brenda stares ahead, her teeth showing under her top lip.

"Have to keep my eyes on the road," says Brenda, grasping the wheel.

"Need I remind you that you're not the best driver, Bren," says Dylan. "And I'm not sorry I said that."

"I'm coming for you, McKay," guarantees Brenda.

"Like to see you try," argues Dylan, as the cars buzz into motion.

"Dylan!" yells Erica, waving an arm madly.

A flurry of cars bypass Erica, as she drives in the direction of Dylan and Brenda. Brenda squeals and manages to go right past her. Dylan slams his foot against the accelerator, surprised how it moves very much like a real car. He chuckles and goes after Erica, who bumps into a young boy in a black car. The young boy steers his car clear of Erica's as Dylan grows closer. Then, wham, he's hit. Dylan turns his head and spies a brunette pigtail and a pale neck.

"Walsh!" cries Dylan.

"That one's for Erica!" proclaims Brenda, going to his right.

He chuckles and follows Brenda, wind whipping his face. The majority of the cars were flanking him, making it near impossible to hit Brenda from behind. He'd have to hit her right in the nose of the car if he's going to do it. Dylan bumps into a silver car and a red car, driven by two freckled twins. Great, he realizes. I'm stuck. The boys go in reverse, then start trying to attack each other. Dylan scans the space for Brenda and Erica. There isn't a lot of time left. He can view the ticket taker's hand going towards the lever to freeze all of the traffic.

Suddenly, his form falls forward as both Brenda and Erica manage to land in one last hit. Dylan hits the staring wheel, laughing softly.

"Girl power!" says Brenda, knocking knuckles with Erica.

"Yes!" adds Erica.

Dylan undoes his seatbelt as the whistle sounds and the cars click off.

"I want both of you ladies' insurance information," says Dylan, stepping out of the car.

"Going again!" shouts Erica, going to get in line once more.

"Well, I'm spent," admits Brenda, taking off her seatbelt.

He offers his hand to her as she gets out of the car. Brenda clumsily leaves the car, managing to grip Dylan's arm for support. They grin at one another and Brenda straightens herself.

"Let's...um, let's go watch Erica," suggests Brenda.

"Uhhh, right," says Dylan, following her off the track.

They situate themselves on the sidelines, viewing Erica race onto the track for the same red car. He's glad she's getting a kick out of this. It was funny, but every now and then, he could swear that Erica still didn't like Kevin. She barely talked to him when the four of them were together. In comparison, Erica was a chatterbox with Dylan. Maybe Kevin took getting used to. Kelly wasn't exactly blown away by him.

"You guys have the same smile, by the way," says Brenda, gesturing towards Erica.

"Think so?" says Dylan. "Yeah, I guess...I guess we do."

"It's great that you have a family now," says Brenda. "I was really worried about you last year, Dylan. The way Jack left. A year later, and here you are."

"Bren, you don't have to be so worried, you know?" insists Dylan. "It's nice, but not necessary."

"I know, but it's kind of a habit," says Brenda, simply and softly.

Dylan clears his throat. They weren't past the point of worrying about each other. He knows that he was worried when Brenda suddenly announced that she was going to marry Stuart in Vegas. While he understood why (Brenda's love of the romantic, of the theatrics), it wasn't something he thought should happen. Why? That's a question he continues to ask himself. Whatever the answer was to that lead him to go get her in Palm Springs. She was frightened, alone, and sought him out. He couldn't disappoint her, no matter what Kelly thought it meant. He was glad she called. He is glad she called.

"The habit's mutual," assures Dylan.

"Good," says Brenda, elbowing him.


"Ohhhhh," groans Brandon, flipping to the other side of the bed.

The alarm clock continues to beep, the White House paperweight slowly coming into his foggy sight. Brandon raises the comforter of his bed and stares out of his window.

"Why no, Brandon Walsh," says Brandon to himself. "You are not so high up there that you can catch up on your lack of sleep due to the time difference. Instead, you've missed breakfast and will be lucky to locate a piece of dry toast."

If only he can tell himself that he didn't dream about the two females that were making this trip to Washington D.C. so memorable, for the wrong reasons. No, he did not dream that past flame-slash- anthropology professor Lucinda Nicholson and high schooler-slash-opportunist Clare Arnold were in bed with him, discussing the future of his love life. That was some other poor sap. Brandon lets his head fall to the pillow to nail in the fact that that was the truth. It was the truth. He dreamed about them in this bed and they were at the hotel this morning...for real. Brandon sluggishly stands and turned the alarm off.

Depending on the events of the day, he'd try and get a hold of Andrea and see how she and Jesse were doing. He didn't like leaving his friends when things were so touch and go for the baby, but they probably did have to have some time to themselves. The other girl that he hated leaving didn't know that he hated leaving her. He kept that to himself. Since the retreat, and the conversations following the retreat, he's tried to keep the memories he's had with her at arm's length. He meant it when he said he wouldn't push. Kelly was an amazing woman but she wasn't his girlfriend. She wasn't even his girlfriend when they were faking it.

One thing was for certain. He couldn't fake it with Lucinda anymore. He grew so tired of her games. The emotional part had faded and the physical side was less satisfying because of it. Brandon was sick of lying, and sick of pretending that something was there to salvage. His "pretend" girlfriend was the girl he wasn't pretending with. It reached its height when he could barely be in the same room with Dylan and Kelly for more than a few minutes. The memory of the kiss would return, as would hoding her in his arms. He didn't like the touching or the kissing or the usual couple things that Dylan and Kelly had every right to do. Throwing himself into his work, it paid off. Brandon would be meeting President Bill Clinton tomorrow with the rest of the Task Force Iniative. Jim and Cindy vowed to be glued to the television screen, and Brenda said she'd tune in too if he brought her home a souvenir. Twin sisters. They always came with conditions. Brandon puts on his socks as a steady knock sounded on the door.

"Hello?" calls Brandon, his feet now covered.

"Room service," calls someone from behind the door.

Hmmm, they must have the wrong room. Brandon ran a hand through his hair, sure that it's not its neat, well-styled self. Eh, you don't have to look your best when telling someone they've got the wrong room. Brandon opens the door. There's a cart with a linen tablecloth, two grey covered dishes, a coffee pot, utensils, and napkins. Whatever is underneath smells delicious. Washington D.C. cooks were clearly as good as West Coast chefs.

"Morning," says the waiter, whose nametag reads Michael.

"I didn't order any room service, sorry," says Brandon.

"No," says a clear, sweet voice. "I did."

Her red lips go from ear to ear in a nervous smile, blonde hair bound in a thick ponytail, her red floral dress falling to her ankles. Her skin's so soft and smooth that he's wondering if she's a dream too.

"Kelly?" says Brandon, his eyes widening.

"Surprise," says Kelly cheerfully.

"I'm assuming this is the right room?" says Michael.

"Oh yeah, yeah," replies Brandon. "Come on in, Mike."

"Thank you, sir," says Michael.

Brandon holds the door open for Michael as he wheels in the table, Kelly in tow. No words are exchanged, because he's not sure what to say. Kelly Taylor is in Washington D.C., presumably to see him? What did he miss? Well, he missed her, no doubt about that. Brandon glances in the mirror while Kelly's back is turned. Ugh, his hair won't cooperate with a lack of product. He spots Michael and Kelly's reflections staring at him. Brandon laughs good-naturedly as his cheeks go red.

"I...I just got up," informs Brandon, more apologetically to Kelly than to the other guy in the room.

"Lovely, sir," says Michael. "Will you be needing anything else?"

"That should do, Michael," says Kelly, presenting him with a tip. "Thank you."

"Thanks, Michael," says Brandon.

Michael leaves them with a short nod, closing the door. Kelly pats down the top of her hair. Hers isn't messy. Brandon slowly sits in a chair and tries to read her expression. She has to be here for a reason. You don't fly to the other side of the country just for kicks or just to have breakfast. Well, she isn't sad so Andrea and the rest of their friends must be okay. She's calm so she must not be in some sort of trouble. There are no signs he can read.

"So...how are you, Brandon?" asks Kelly, walking to the table to pour some coffee into her cup.

"Uh, right now?" says Brandon. "Pretty...the word astonished would sum it all up."

"Oh," says Kelly.

She presents the coffee to Brandon, who thanks her and drinks it.

"How I like it," identifies Brandon.

"I remember things from our Task Force adventures," assures Kelly, her cheeks getting a little flushed.

His cheeks were becoming the same color. He better ask then or there, or never have the nerve.

"Am I correct in thinking that you're here for me and not for the Cherry Blossom Festival?" says Brandon. "If it's for the Festival, you're a little late."

Kelly laughs. "That'd be a hard pill to swallow if I was, but I'm not here for the Festival."

She drapes herself in the chair opposite him, Brandon wondering if he should continue. Kelly goes on instead.

"I don't know, Brandon," says Kelly. "Maybe you being out of town makes you more attractive to me."

"Oughta go out of town more often," muses Brandon.

Kelly throws a stationary pen at him, Brandon chuckling.

"Whatever you're doing here, I'm...I can't tell you how happy I am to see you," says Brandon, setting the pen down and staring into her eyes. "You're...a breath of fresh air."

"Same here," says Kelly.

It's said with easiness and earnestness, and for that, he's come not to care.

"I'm going sight-seeing today," announces Brandon.

"That's fine," says Kelly. "I figured you'd be busy."

"Yep, very, very busy," says Brandon. "I have to show this gorgeous California girl with a red purse the ins and outs of our nation's Capitol. Should take most of the day."

Kelly smiles and shakes her head. Brandon finishes his coffee and stretches his arms when he stands.

"I have a guidebook," informs Kelly, standing and removing the book from her purse.

"Men don't ask for directions," kids Brandon.

She taps him in the stomach with the guidebook. Brandon holds it and flips through the pages. It's a pretty dense guide and Kelly has highlighted a few things. She must've really wanted to come. He puts an arm around her, her ponytail brushing his neck.

"Look who did her homework," remarks Brandon.

"It's called being prepared," says Kelly. "And I thought you were a Boy Scout. Isn't that you guys' motto?"

"Hey, I know how to find things just by looking at the stars," defends Brandon.

"So you won't need this then," says Kelly, reaching for the guide.

"What are you, crazy?" teases Brandon. "This city's totally confusing."

Kelly squeals as Brandon dangles the guide above her, both of them laughing as they fall and tumble to the couch.


Brandon may have been right about this city being confusing. When he parted the door, there were instant goosebumps prickling her skin, an increase in her heart beat, all those small indicators that he was becoming more than a friend. How to explain them, though? She tried her best to be casual under strange circumstances. If she were him, she'd want to know immediately. But Brandon wasn't like that. Thank God Brandon wasn't like that.

"I'm going to tell Donna how much gel you use," says Kelly as they board the elevator. "Brenda already knows, I bet."

"Don't you dare," says Brandon, pressing the button for the ground floor.

The elevator doesn't go very far, stopping at the next floor. Brandon scrunches his nose as a girl they know all too well smiles at them. Her hips swing from side to side as she gets on, the fabric of her leather mini shiny and tight.

"Brandon!" greets Clare.

"Oh, Brandon's on there?" says Chancellor Arnold, jogging to them. "Would you mind holding it?"

"And...and Kelly?" remarks Clare.

"Hey, Clare," says Kelly wearily. "Good morning, Chancellor Arnold."

"Isn't this a wonderful surprise?" says Chancellor Arnold, shaking Kelly's hand.

"The most wonderful, sir," chimes in Brandon.

"What are you doing here?" asks Chancellor Arnold.

Um, does she really want to share the answer to that? Brandon smiles at her sheepishly. Clare looks her up and down with interest.

"We're going sight-seeing, Chancellor Arnold," provides Brandon.

"You're in for a treat," says Chancellor Arnold. "I love this city. Hey, how about we make it a foursome?"

Kelly tries to mask a frown by fixing the sleeve of her dress, Brandon managing a weak grin. The retreat is one thing. The Chancellor was supposed to be there. The president of their university joining in on what she'd like to be private time? Not so....appealing.

"We've...we've planned the whole day, sir," says Brandon. "Maybe next time."

"Oh, you can't fool me," remarks Chancellor Arnold. "You two want to be alone."

Brandon and Kelly exchange a long look, and nod at the Chancellor.

"You guys make a handsome pair," proclaims Chancellor Arnold. "Don't you think so, Clare?"

"Yeah, whatever," offers Clare.

"Just handsome," says Chancellor Arnold. "Hit D for the dining room, sweetheart."

Clare hits the button and starts to study her nails. Kelly only notices this briefly, as she tries to hold in a laugh that's aching to get out of her body. Brandon coughs, clearly covering his own amusement.

"Have fun," says Chancellor Arnold, guiding Clare out of the elevator.

The elevator closes, leading them to the lobby. Kelly finally lets the laugh go.

"Handsome...handsome pair," breathes Kelly. "Wow."

"We do make a handsome pair, Kelly," insists Brandon as the doors flutter open.

Brandon puts on his sunglasses, making her laugh a little more. They head to the hotel entrance.

"Right?" says Brandon.

"Right," says Kelly, as they start on the streets of Washington.